David Kolb (Bates): Impure Postmodernity — Philosophy Today. From Radical Philosophy, what is — or what is not — contemporary French philosophy, today? Derek Parfit’s On What Matters will probably be the most important publication in moral philosophy since Henry Sidgwick’s Methods of Ethics. Jay Kennedy’s recent paper in Apeiron could transform our understanding of Plato; he sets out his ideas at length for the general reader. An excerpt from How to Be a Philosopher: or How to Be Almost Certain that Almost Nothing is Certain by Gary Cox. While Penguin classics of Aristotle and Descartes sell year in and year out, some publishers think philosophy gets a bad rap among book buyers, and they’re doing something about it — Wiley is in the process of rolling out a new series on pop philosophy called Philosophy for Everyone. A review of Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician. Get your brain in gear: Pop philosophy is taking over the bookshops. When The Philosophers' Magazine started, they didn’t exist — now the blogs are here to stay. From Philosophy Experiments, framing the epidemic: Here is a quick test of your decision-making processes; and the Euthyphro dilemma: Are you're one of those insufferable new atheist types? From PhiloSophos, a website for open learning resources, advice and inspiration for philosophy students, a series of articles and downloads. Philosophy TV is a video website devoted to philosophical thinking. UNESCO’s 9th annual World Philosophy day has been hit by controversy after one of the keynote speakers pulled out of the event, due to be held in Tehran on 18 November (and more by Scott McLemee and more at ResetDOC).

From World Policy Journal, David L. Phillips (Columbia): The Balkans' Underbelly; Michael J. Jordan on the roots of hate. From Notre Dame magazine, a look at what we can learn from Transylvania (really!). From a political party to a cultural lifestyle: Danilo Breschi on trends of post-communism in Italy. An article on Spain's integration of Gypsies as a model for Europe. From Baltic Review, why do Scandinavians work? Minority rules: How Sweden's far-right rose from neo-Nazi skinheads to populist Muslim-baiters to the country's new kingmakers. For the first time in the postwar era, far-right extremists garnered enough votes to enter Sweden’s parliament — even in troubled times, this is shocking news. Doesn’t anyone out there care what’s happening to Sweden? Richard Svensson on the mystery dragons of Sweden, from Norse sagas to modern sightings. How to become an Estonian: Don’t have a ready-made national epic? Get Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald to write one. The Seven-Headed President: Switzerland celebrates Europe's strangest system of government. As Wall Street hangs on the question “Will Greece default?,” Michael Lewis heads for riot-stricken Athens, and for the mysterious Vatopaidi monastery, which brought down the last government, laying bare the country’s economic insanity. With pot laws changing, GQ sends a weed-averse correspondent to see what life is really like in Amsterdam, the world's cannabis capital. The King's Two Bodies: They recently dug up Nicolae Ceausescu's corpse — a dictator never really dies.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research is out. Tara Maller (MIT): Diplomacy Derailed: The Consequences of Diplomatic Sanctions. A review of Revolution 1989 by Victor Sebestyen. Gauging the "yuck factor": A poll tries to get a handle on how far Americans are willing to take a chance on the brave new world of synthetic biology. How did China displace Japan as Asia's main partner in Latin America? A look at 5 ridiculous ancient beliefs that turned out to be true. Why using "like" in conversation isn't a sign of stupidity. A review of Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century by Michael Hiltzik. Betrayed by Spain and oppressed by Morocco, the Saharawi people of Western Sahara compare themselves to the Palestinians or the black majority in apartheid South Africa — and they want the world to know their story. Morocco and Spain are to face their toughest test yet as Spanish and Sahrawi activists prepare to launch a flotilla to call for the independence of Western Sahara. Two yentas walk into a bar: Old Jews make us laugh with "not-so-kosher" jokes. A review of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich (and more). An interview with Michael Robinson, author of Why Coolidge Matters. Geoff LeGrand on how Venezuela's communes are not as radical as you might think. Hegel on Wall Street: In a practical world, motives do not matter, actions do.

Helen M. Alvare (CUA): Communion or Suspicion: Which Way for Woman and Man? Linda C. McClain (BU): What's so Hard About Sex Equality? Nature, Culture, and Social Engineering. Completed in 1976, and published this spring by Siglio Press, Torture of Women bears witness to what is often officially denied or left unspoken — it reveals the presence of the silent consensus, which allows the violence to be state-sanctioned and eternally mythologized. Men’s Lib: To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers — why it’s time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home. From Ms. magzine, an article on 10 years of Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by Bell Hooks; and a look at women we’ll be reading 200 years from now. If Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) warrants the serious attention of policy-makers, then so too, despite quantitative differences, does Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). Mary Elizabeth Williams on Cher, Jane Fonda, and the art of aging ungracefully: Why are people so angry about it? A study confirms women have become more like men. Heather Mallick on how beautiful clothes is a contact sport for women. That the stronger sex is now becoming weaker than the fairer sex is widely acknowledged, but it’s getting worrying: in Europe men’s fear of having a small penis is increasing. From UN Chronicle, a special issue on empowering women. Why are women more religious than men? Satoshi Kanazawa investigates. An interview with Nicola Jones on gender equality. Please keep men out of my bathroom: Those of us who have shared facilities with men see some wisdom in gender-segregated restrooms. Can genes explain the sex divide? The Empowerment Mystique: What’s being sold in ads promoting female pride?

Friedrich Schneider (Johannes Kepler), Tilman Bruck (GIER), and Daniel Meierrieks (Paderborn): The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (and part 2). From The Ecologist, an undercover investigation on the shocking cost of US "mega-dairies". The First Celebrity Tell-All: Before Jenna Jameson, before Paris Hilton, even before Kirk Douglas, Benvenuto Cellini wrote the original memoir of sex, catty gossip, and murder that defined the genre. Does social democracy have a future? As cultural preference, yes; as movement, no. People's apparent lack of awareness about choices they themselves have just made not only raises awkward questions about the limits of conscious awareness, but surely also has real-world implications. A look at 5 absurd (but mind blowing) pop culture conspiracy theories. Don't walk, stand: Why did moving pavements never take off? Atlas Obscura goes inside Museum of Eroticism, a former cabaret, seven floors of erotic art. Should progressives embrace entitlement reform, or look elsewhere to narrow the gap? Fiscal experts Isabel Sawhill and Greg Anrig debate. Here are samples from A Dictionary of 20th-Century Communism, ed. Silvio Pons and Robert Service (and a quiz and more). A rose by a local name: The fascination with "ethnic chic" in nomenclature reveals much about the cultural insecurities of Pakistan’s art world today. A review of Engaging Heidegger by Richard Capobianco.

From Axess, a special issue on music. In the Congolese capital Kinshasa, just surviving is hard enough, but one group of people spends hours traveling across town to sit in a sweltering compound and practice Handel — they are members of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, Central Africa's only symphony orchestra. Those ubiquitous wires connecting listeners to you-name-the-sounds from invisible MP3 players — whether of Bach, Miles Davis or, more likely today, Lady Gaga — only hint at music's effect on the soul throughout the ages. Heather Havrilesky reviews Lady Gaga: Behind the Fame by Emily Herbert, Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga by Maureen Callahan, and Lady Gaga: Critical Mass Fashion by Lizzy Goodman. A look at why it's time to stop paying attention to Lady Gaga. What happens when musicians smash the metronome of developmental time and the prison-house of language? The puritans among us would like to declare that the great God Pan is dead but he is not and his music lives on. What is it about music that gets true believers so hot and bothered? From Vice, a special issue on anti-music. The music industry's new business model: Thanks to web streaming and MP3 players, album sales are in freefall — but bands shouldn't panic. Two of Us: Joshua Wolf Shenk goes inside the Lennon/McCartney connection. Ain't that a shame: Four biographies of rock'n'roll greats try to place music legend in the world of documentable fact. A review of The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can’t Do Without It by Philip Ball. Not fade away: Should music end abruptly or fade out?

Peer Zumbansen (York): The Conundrum of Order: The Concept of Governance from an Interdisciplinary Perspective. Martin Kroh (GIER): The Formative Period of Party Identification: Parental Education in Childhood and Adolescence. Just how strong are political parties? Jonathan Bernstein investigates. Jason Reifler (Loyola) and Jeffrey Lazarus (Georgia State): Partisanship and Policy Priorities in the Distribution of Economic Stimulus Funds. Ben Woodson (Stony Brook): The Role of Congressional Polarization and Divided Government in the New Ideological Partisanship. The specter haunting the Senate: Michael Tomasky reviews Politics or Principle?: Filibustering in the United States Senate by Sarah A. Binder and Steven S. Smith and 
Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate by Gregory Koger. From FDL, a book salon on Congressional Ambivalence: The Political Burdens of Constitutional Authority by Jasmine Farrier. A review of The US Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie. In praise of Parliament: George Watson defends a much-maligned institution that is simply the best political idea mankind has had. Ezra Klein on Poli Sci 101: Presidential speeches don't matter, and lobbyists don't run DC. Steven F. Hayward on the irrelevance of modern political science: The problem with academic political science is its insistence on attempting to emulate the empiricism of economics (and more and more and more by John Sides). John Sides on what political scientists can offer journalists (and more and more) .

From Europe's Journal of Psychology, a special issue on humor, including Vassilis Saroglou, Christelle Lacour, and Marie-Eve Demeure (UCL): Bad Humor, Bad Marriage: Humor Styles in Divorced and Married Couples; Margaret Bassil and Shahe S. Kazarian (AUB) and Nicholas Kuiper and Jessica Sine (UWO): The Impact of Humor in North American versus Middle East Cultures; Julie Woodzicka (Washington and Lee) and Thomas Ford (WCU): A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor; Kim Edwards and Rod Martin (UWO): Humor Creation Ability and Mental Health: Are Funny People more Psychologically Healthy?; and Bernard C. Beins and Shawn M. O’Toole (Ithaca): Searching for the Sense of Humor: Stereotypes of Ourselves and Others. From PopMatters, Shawn O'Rourke on the future of comic stores in the digital era. New research finds we trust experts who agree with our own opinions, suggesting that subjective feelings override scientific information. A review of How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom. Judy Bachrach on the joys of being called "an older woman". Psychologists link happiness with less small talk and more substantive conversation. What a law professor can learn from George Orwell: People today can't remember anything about politics or public life, but they can retrieve everything about someone's personal history.

After Iraq: America has had a bruising decade, but do not underestimate either the superpower or its president. The end of the American superpower: More so than its imperial wars, it is the gutting of the US economy that brought the eclipse of the American century. Economists are warning that the world's number one economy is on the brink of collapse. The Guns of August: Chalmers Johnson on lowering the flag on the American Century. America's century is over, but it will fight on: The structural problems of the US economy are too deepseated and intractable to be solved by regular doses of cheap money. America is suffering a power outage, and the rest of the world knows it. One and a half cheers for American decline: The future’s not ours — and that’s good news. Mortimer Zuckerman on the end of American optimism. Sandy Levinson on why we are better advised to look at Weimar Germany during the 1920s to understand our present political situation. A review of The Demise of America: The Coming Breakup of the United States and What Will Replace It by Don Durrett. Decline, but not inevitable decline: Conrad Black on how the U.S. is in deep but not irreversible trouble. A recent poll found that the majority of Americans believe the nation is in decline — that is debatable, but a shift under way from industry to polish is real. Wallowing in Decline: Americans have gone from gloating over their global influence to bemoaning the loss of it — they were wrong then, and they're wrong now. America, it seems, is always in decline: A review of Dismantling America by Thomas Sowell. A nation in decline? Doug Henwood interviews Michael D. Yates. Think America is in decline? Don't bet on it. A review of Why America is Not a New Rome by Vaclav Smil.

From NYRB, a review of works on The Wire; Paul Krugman and Robin Wells on the way out of the slump — a review essay; and the pirates are winning: A review of Somalia: The New Barbary? Piracy and Islam in the Horn of Africa by Martin N. Murphy and Warriors: Life and Death Among the Somalis by Gerald Hanley. In praise of inflation: James Surowiecki on why a little of what we fear might do us good. Nerve takes a look at the ten worst Saturday Night Live hosts of all time. Of Vikings, trolls and translation trouble: Barry Lynn on how he learned about church and state in Norway. A review of Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made National Lampoon Insanely Great by Rick Meyerowitz. Can Twitter lead people to the streets? There's "Room for Debate" at the New York Times. Elif Batuman on Kafka’s Last Trial: A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. From Obit magazine, death on high: Mountaineering accidents may be few, but they’re savage; and when grief becomes competitive: These days, those of note aren’t allowed to go quietly. A Romp Through Time: Tony Perrottet on a brief history of modern love's seminal moments. There are a lot of shoddy polls out there; some are frank about their shortcomings and some aren’t — here are some ideas for getting an accurate picture of what a poll can tell you.